Politics of Sri Lanka
Politics of Sri Lanka takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Sri Lanka is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and Parliament. For decades, the party system has been dominated by the socialist Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the conservative United National Party. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Politics of Sri Lanka reflect the historical and political differences between the three main ethnic groups, the majority Sinhala and the minorities Tamils and Muslims, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island.
- 1 Executive branch
- 2 Legislative branch
- 3 Political parties and elections
- 4 Administrative divisions
- 5 Judicial branch
- 6 Foreign relations of Sri Lanka
- 7 Political pressure groups
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Sources
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
|President||Maithripala Sirisena||Sri Lanka Freedom Party||9 January 2015|
|Prime Minister||Ranil Wickremesinghe
||United National Party||16 December 2018|
The President, directly elected for a five-year term, is head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces. The election occurs under the Sri Lankan form of the contingent vote. Responsible to Parliament for the exercise of duties under the constitution and laws, the president may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of Parliament with the concurrence of the Supreme Court.
The President appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers responsible to Parliament. The President's deputy is the prime minister, who leads the ruling party in Parliament. A parliamentary no-confidence vote requires dissolution of the cabinet and the appointment of a new one by the President.
The primary modification is that the party that receives the largest number of valid votes in each constituency gains a unique "bonus seat" (see Hickman, 1999). The president may summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve Parliament any time after it has served for one year. Parliament reserves the power to make all laws. Since its independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Political parties and electionsEdit
In August 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that Presidential Elections would be held in November 2005, resolving a long-running dispute on the length of President Kumaratunga's term. Mahinda Rajapaksa was nominated the SLFP candidate and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe UNP candidate. The Election was held on November 17, 2005, and Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected the fifth Executive President of Sri Lanka with a 50.3% of valid votes, compared to Ranil Wickremesinghe's 48.4%. Mahinda Rajapaksa took oath as President on November 19, 2005. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake was appointed the 22nd Prime Minister on November 21, 2005, to fill the post vacated by Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was previously Prime Minister from 2000 until 2001 .
|Maithripala Sirisena||New Democratic Front||6,217,162||51.28%|
|Mahinda Rajapaksa||United People's Freedom Alliance||5,768,090||47.58%|
|Ratnayake Arachchige Sirisena||Patriotic National Front||18,174||0.15%|
|Namal Ajith Rajapaksa||Our National Front||15,726||0.13%|
|Maulawi Ibrahim Mohanmed Mishlar||United Peace Front||14,379||0.12%|
|A. S. P. Liyanage||Sri Lanka Labour Party||14,351||0.12%|
|Ruwanthileke Peduru||United Lanka People's Party||12,436||0.10%|
|Aithurus M. Illias||Independent||10,618||0.09%|
|Duminda Nagamuwa||Frontline Socialist Party||9,941||0.08%|
|Siritunga Jayasuriya||United Socialist Party||8,840||0.07%|
|Sarath Manamendra||New Sinhala Heritage||6,875||0.06%|
|Pani Wijesiriwardene||Socialist Equality Party||4,277||0.04%|
|Sundaram Mahendran||Nava Sama Samaja Party||4,047||0.03%|
|Muthu Bandara Theminimulla||All Are Citizens, All Are Kings Organisation||3,846||0.03%|
|Battaramulle Seelarathana||Jana Setha Peramuna||3,750||0.03%|
|Prasanna Priyankara||Democratic National Movement||2,793||0.02%|
|Jayantha Kulathunga||United Lanka Great Council||2,061||0.02%|
|Wimal Geeganage||Sri Lanka National Front||1,826||0.02%|
|Alliances and parties||Votes||%||Seats|
|Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna||543,944||4.87%||4||2||6|
|Sri Lanka Muslim Congress[ii]||44,193||0.40%||1||0||1|
|Eelam People's Democratic Party||33,481||0.30%||1||0||1|
|All Ceylon Makkal Congress[i]||33,102||0.30%||0||0||0|
|Ceylon Workers' Congress[iv]||17,107||0.15%||0||0||0|
|Frontline Socialist Party||7,349||0.07%||0||0||0|
|United People's Party||5,353||0.05%||0||0||0|
Local government is divided into two parallel structures, the civil service, which dates to colonial times, and the provincial councils, which were established in 1987.
Civil Service StructureEdit
The country is divided into 25 districts, each of which has a district secretary (the GA, or Government Agent) who is appointed. Each district comprises 5–16 divisions, each with a DS, or divisional secretary, again, appointed. At a village level Grama Niladari (Village Officers), Samurdhi Niladari (Development Officers) and agriculture extension officers work for the DSs.
Provincial Council structureEdit
Under the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of July 1987—and the resulting 13th amendment to the constitution—the Government of Sri Lanka agreed to devolve some authority to the provinces. Provincial councils are directly elected for 5-year terms. The leader of the council majority serves as the province's Chief Minister with a board of ministers; a provincial governor is appointed by the president.
The Provincial Councils have full statute making power with respect to the Provincial Council List, and shared statute making power respect to the Concurrent List. While all matters set out in the Reserved List are under the central government.
Local government structureEdit
Below the provincial level are elected Municipal Councils and Urban Councils, responsible for municipalities and cities respectively, and below this level Pradeshiya Sabhas (village councils), again elected. There are: 18 Municipal Councils: Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte, Kaduwela, Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna, Galle, Matara, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Anuradhapura, Gampaha, Moratuwa, Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Batticaloa, Kalmune, Negombo. 42 Urban Councils: 270 Pradeshiya Sabhas: (The above statistics include the new local government authorities established by the government in January 2006.)
Sri Lanka's judiciary consists of a Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, and a number of subordinate courts. Sri Lanka's legal system reflects diverse cultural influences. Criminal law is fundamentally British. Basic civil law is Roman-Dutch, but laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, and inheritance are communal, known as respectively as Kandyan, Thesavalamai (Jaffna Tamil) and Muslim (Roman-Dutch law applies to Low-country Sinhalese, Estate Tamils and others).
- Courts of law
Foreign relations of Sri LankaEdit
Sri Lanka generally follows a non-aligned foreign policy but has been seeking closer relations with the United States since December 1977. It participates in multilateral diplomacy, particularly at the United Nations, where it seeks to promote sovereignty, independence, and development in the developing world. Sri Lanka was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). It also is a member of the Commonwealth, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, and the Colombo Plan. Sri Lanka continues its active participation in the NAM, while also stressing the importance it places on regionalism by playing a strong role in SAARC.
Sri Lanka is member of the IAEA, IBRD, ADB, C, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-24, G-77, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO. І
The growing interest of other countries in making their claims to Sri Lanka’s strategic assets has been generating heated discussion among national and international circles. Worth noting, China, India and Japan's involvement in Sri Lankan seaport developments is a direct consequence of the ongoing tussle among these three nations to get a firm foothold in this very strategically located island state of Sri Lanka.
Political pressure groupsEdit
Civil society participation in decision-making and opinion-shaping is very poor in Sri Lanka. Professionals, civil society groups, media etc. do not play a significant role in Sri Lankan politics and, as a result, many aspects of the lives of ordinary citizens are politicized. In addition, the vacuum created by the silence and inactivity of civil society has let in radical groups such as the ethnic/religion-based groups, Trade Unions; and NGOs have taken lead roles as political pressure groups.
- solutions, EIU digital. "Democracy Index 2016 - The Economist Intelligence Unit". www.eiu.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
- "Presidential Election 08-01-2015 – Official Results – All Island Final Result". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
- Presidential Elections 2015Districts Results by Polling Divisionand All Island Results
- "Parliamentary Election - 17-08-2015 - Official Election Results — All Island Results". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
- "Parliamentary Election - 17-08-2015 - Official Election Results — Composition of the Parliament". Department of Elections, Sri Lanka.
- Weerakoon, Dushni (June 20, 2019). "Rivals Competing over Sri Lanka's Seaports". OpedColumn.News.Blog.
- Hickman, J. 1999. "Explaining the Two-Party System in Sri Lanka's National Assembly." Contemporary South Asia, Volume 8, Number 1 (March), pp. 29–40 (A detailed description of the effects of the bonus seat provision).
- James Jupp, Sri Lanka: Third World Democracy, London: Frank Cass and Company, Limited, 1978.
- Robert C. Oberst. "Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka", Publius, Vol. 18, No. 3, The State of American Federalism, 1987 (Summer, 1988), pp. 175–193